July 2013 » Departments

Stand to work
In the May CE News you invited thoughts about standing while working, and that resonated with some of my experiences. For example, I have presented over 300 webinars from my office and, almost from the beginning, I realized that I am more effective – deliver more energy – by standing up as I speak to my unseen audience. I once worked for an engineer who had a small stand-up desk just inside his office door. When I or others were summoned to meet with him, we were met at the door and immediately went to the stand-up desk to quickly conduct our business.

Maybe, to promote focus, we should conduct more stand-up meetings. Or, more modestly, when making a point at a sit-down meeting, perhaps the speaker should stand up at his or her place in keeping with communication consultant Timothy J. Koegel's advice: "We are more persuasive on our feet than in our seat." Finally, standing up while working puts us in the company of productive people including Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, and Ernest Hemingway.
Stuart G. Walesh, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, D.WRE, F.NSPE


I can't comment about whether or not creativity increases from a standing desk. I can say that I raised my desk because [of] what I read about the health detriments of spending all day sitting. One result I have seen is stronger legs. That has enhanced my ability to stand for a long time during presentations, as well as at networking and similar events, both of which are important to my success.
David J. Singer, CLU, CIC
Singer Nelson Charlmers


Car stories
I read most of the articles in CE News and find them to be educational and informative; keep up the good work! I especially enjoyed [Mark Zweig's] recent editorial on [his] '35 Ford pickup ("From the publisher," April 2013, page 6). I can remember years ago crawling around under the '35 Ford family car "helping" my father work on it. That was probably when I became a gearhead, following him around his Esso filing station/repair shop. I probably should have followed the mechanical engineering career instead of civil, but Dad came from the old school of wanting the kids to do better than he, so he encouraged me in the civil direction. As a senior in high school I won a state award in the Fisher Body Craftsmans Guild, which proved my continuous infection with things mechanical; I still have that model car 55 years later!

Attached is a photo of a '63 Trimph-Chevy I purchased around 1974 from a fellow member of the local SCCA. We both did a little slalom racing, and he built the car for that purpose. The drivetrain and suspension were fine but the body was falling apart. I pulled the engine and transmission and hand-formed steel bulkheads and an aluminum skin riveted in place. The car was a tremendous amount of fun. It had a balanced "iron-duke" four-cylinder engine, a four-speed Muncie gearbox, and a "poorman's" limited slip differential (the spider gears were welded in so that the rear axle was straight through). I never lost a traffic-light race in 18 months after it was finished; the car was so light, and with the wide tires would not spin but take off like a rocket. An expanding family ($$) necessitated that it be sold.

My current toy is a 1971 Volvo 142S. A friend helped me tow it home with his pickup about 25 years ago. It was virtually in pieces: The engine was in the trunk, most of the body trim work was in the rear seat, and one of the rear brake calipers was dragging all the way home (yes, Volvos came with rear wheel disc brakes and dual piston front calipers over 40 years ago). I spent about 15 years taking it apart in my garage and rebuilding almost everything. I had to maintain my priorities of family, church, profession, and car in that order. I also learned that during the times (and there were many) that I became frustrated or tired with the car I must give it a few weeks rest or I would make errors. I drive it locally on nice weekends, and it always draws attention; I also enter it in a car show occasionally.
Barry N. Blackwood, P.E.

Wow, Barry, great stories there! I love both of those cars. That Tri-chev is wild! Looks like a Lotus on steroids. Fantastic creation. What is the windshield from? Something old.
– Mark


CivilSource updates
We received two updates to information published in the 2013 CivilSource (May issue, also available online at www.cenews.com/toc-may_2013-314.html):

  • In the "Online Graduate Programs" listing, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville online Master's of Science in Engineering program (www.uwplatt.edu/disted/engineering.html) allows students to choose from four concentration areas – Applications of Engineering Management, Engineering Design, Control (Electrical) Systems, and Structural/Geotechnical Engineering.
  • In the "Associations" listing (page 38), the Association for Metallically Stabilized Earth's new address and phone number are: P.O. Box 9133, Reston, VA 20195-3033; 571-392-5901.

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